IN SHORT: Claims that Israel is in talks with the governments of Rwanda and Chad to receive Palestinian refugees are circulating on social media. However, both African countries have said these allegations are false.
“Talks over the transfer of the Palestinian population from Gaza to Rwanda and Chad are being actively pursued by Israel, according to a report by Zman Yisrael earlier today,” reads a post shared by online news platform BTM News Kenya on 5 January 2024.
Gaza is a narrow territory in the Middle East bordered to its west and north by Israel. The strip is densely populated and poor. The people who live there are mainly Palestinian. Gaza has been ruled by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, since 2007.
Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza, a total blockade of the territory and a ground invasion. Tens of thousands of people have since been killed in the strip and thousands more are missing, also believed to be dead.
Gaza has a population of about 2 million people. By the end of 2023, some 1.9 million people had fled their homes for safety, according to estimates by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
But are the governments in Chad and Rwanda in talks with Israel to receive displaced Palestinians?
Rumours completely false
While claims that Rwanda and Chad would be receiving Palestinian refugees were circulating on social media, no credible news outlets reported on the development.
The posts were not accompanied by any images or videos and did not include details on the negotiations, such as when or where they took place. This is another red flag that the story can’t be trusted. Foreign affairs offices usually release statements confirming important developments or share updates to their official social media accounts. An absence of this is an indication that the claims are false.
On 5 January 2024, Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation shared an alert on its official website and X account.
“Disinformation alert: Rwanda is not in Discussion with Israel on Transfer of Palestinians from Gaza,” reads the post.
A spokesperson for the government of Chad was quoted in this news article as saying: “Chad categorically denies the recent allegations … which claim that talks between Israel and Chad are taking place with the aim of receiving thousands of Palestinians from Gaza.”
These claims about Palestinian refugees circulating on social media are false.
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